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SAI Event Topic : Urbanization

Re-thinking Local: A Cross-regional Dialogue about Strategies for Local Practice in Cities

START
Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 06:30pm

END
Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 02:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S010

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S010
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA

Student Event

“Re-thinking Local” will examine how architects are developing new models of locally-based design practice given the changing realities of urbanization around the world, with a particular focus on South and Southeast Asia.

These two public events feature Vo Trong Nghia, the most prolific contemporary architect in Vietnam, and Marina Tabassum, the leading female architect in Bangladesh – both speaking at Harvard for the first time.

In addition, Nghia and Tabassum will be joined in a round-table discussion by Michael Murphy, Executive Director of MASS Design Group, and Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

This public discussion program will thematically explore how architects are responding to new patterns of urbanization, creating models for construction and fabrication that support sustainable development, and catalyzing local institutions to promote dialogue about the role of design in improving cities. Together, the work of these architects gives new meaning to the model of practicing locally.

Click here for participant bios.

Roundtable discussion with Vo Trong Nghia, Marina Tabassum, and Michael Murphy, moderated by Rahul Mehrotra
Monday, February 22, 2016, 6:30 pm
Tsai Auditorium, CGIS South S010, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Lunchtime Lecture with Vo Trong Nghia
Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 1:00 pm
Portico 124, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy Street

Please contact  Michael Haggerty, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, haggerty@gsd.harvard.edu, with questions.

Cosponsored with the Boston Society of Architects Foundation, Harvard Asia Center, and Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative.


Techno-networks and Urban Space in Bombay Cinema

START
Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 06:30pm

END
Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S354

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S354
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Urbanization Seminar

Ranjani Mazumdar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Chair: Rahul MehrotraProfessor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

This paper looks at the role of media and communication technologies in the imagination of urban spaces in contemporary Bombay cinema. If surveillance practices and their resultant structuring becomes one part of this imagination (No Smoking 2007, LSD 2010, Ugly, 2013), we also see the role of the internet and social media in the framing of spatial encounters in small town India (Masaan 2015). A fascination for ‘obsolete’ technology frames another order of space linked to the recent past (Gangs of Wasseypur 2012, Miss Lovely 2012, Dum Lagake Haisha, 2015), while documentary films like John and Jayne (2005) invoke the call centre imagination within a fractured urban subjectivity. In these films, the themes of violence, love, tragedy and comedy are enacted within a spatial terrain triggered by new media technologies. Taken together these films offer a new geography of the experiential changes unraveling in contemporary India.

Ranjani Mazumdar is Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her publications focus on urban cultures, popular cinema, gender and the cinematic city. She is the author of Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City (2007) and co-author with Nitin Govil of the forthcoming The Indian Film Industry. She has also worked as a documentary filmmaker and her productions include Delhi Diary 2001 and The Power of the Image (Co-Directed). Her current research focuses on globalization and film culture, the visual culture of film posters and the intersection of technology, travel, design and colour in 1960s Bombay Cinema.


India: the Urban Transition

START
Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 06:30pm

END
Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S354

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S354
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Urbanization Seminar 

Henrik Valeur, Architect-Urbanist, Founder and Creative Director of UiD

Chair: Rahul MehrotraProfessor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Can India use urbanization as a driver of economic, human and social development like China has done? How can Indian cities be made more inclusive, productive and livable? Are there any simple solutions to the seemingly insurmountable problems of urban India – the life threatening levels of air pollution, the desperate lack of water, the precarious food situation, the squalid living conditions in the slums, the chaotic, choked and congested road traffic? This lecture will discuss some of these problems and propose some possible solutions, using the cities of Bangalore in South India and Chandigarh in North India as its primary cases. The concept of smart cities will briefly be discussed and co-evolution and development urbanism will be introduced as alternative strategies.


The Capitals of Postcolonial Pakistan: Urbanism as a discourse of Territorial Selfhood

START
Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 06:30pm

END
Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Urbanization Seminar

Farhan Karim, Assistant Professor The University of Kansas, School of Architecture, Design, and Planning

Chair: Rahul MehrotraProfessor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

In the two decades following the creation of Pakistan, the government embarked on a lofty project to establish Muslim nationalism as a two pronged symbol: a binding factor for the country’s culturally different east and west wings and a liberating force for the emerging Third World. A major focus of the project was to establish a new executive capital in West Pakistan—Islamabad (established 1959), and a provincial citadel capital in East Pakistan—Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. These two new capitals were conceived as the backdrop to accommodate the new quintessential democratic institutions: parliament buildings, universities, education training centers and polytechnic institutes. However, Pakistan’s shortage of architects and urban planners, in tandem with the country’s martial government’s Cold War leaning towards the Unite States, eventually compelled the government to seek technical assistance from USAID and the Ford Foundation, and commissioned Constantine Doxiadis and Louis Kahn to design Islamabad and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar respectively. The main challenge in designing the two capitals, though they varied significantly in scale, was to establish the new urban setting as the spatial means to manifest and foster a sense of postcolonial selfhood, Muslim nationalism, citizenship, and economic developmentalism. The other concurrent urban design projects in Pakistan, such as Korangi located southeast of Karachi and the largest slum clearance and urban rehabilitation project of its time, complemented the efforts of establishing new capitals by promoting urban space as an apparatus or a spatial armature to transform the placeless and stateless Muslim selfhood into legitimate citizens. Through a critical discussion of different urban design aspects of these two capitals the proposed talk will show that the discursive formation of urban design in postcolonial Pakistan was entangled with the newly anointed citizenship, territoriality and the idea of a composite Muslim self. Urban design was deployed as a metaphor, if not a means to display and exercise the new Pakistani government’s authoritative power, that symbolizes the aspiration of postcolonial identity and selfhood in a complex way.


Development, Dissent and Architecture in the building of Modern India

START
Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 06:30pm

END
Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Urbanization Seminar

Peter Scriver, Centre for Asian and Middle-Eastern Architecture (CAMEA), University of Adelaide

Chair: Rahul MehrotraProfessor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

In Jawaharlal Nehru’s strategic vision for India’s postcolonial modernization and development, the architecture and urbanism of Chandigarh, the new Punjab State Capital, was of ‘enormous importance’. ‘It hits you on the head, and makes you think’, he famously argued. ‘You may squirm at the impact but it has made you think and imbibe new ideas…’  Though rarely invoked with such a clear and critical purpose, architecture has entered in and out of political consciousness over the course of India’s long march from colonial to global modernity, with its potential both to project change and to recruit resistance to it.

Peter Scriver is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory in the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture at the University of Adelaide, Australia. His books include After the Masters: Contemporary Indian Architecture (Mapin, 1990), Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (Routledge, 2007), and India: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion, 2015)


Planning for Conservation: Looking at Agra

START
Wed, May 6, 2015 at 09:00am

END
Wed, May 6, 2015 at 06:00pm

VENUE
Stubbins Gund Hall

ADDRESS
Stubbins Gund Hall
Harvard Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138

Extreme Urbanism 3
Studio Review with the Participation of The Loeb Fellows

Faculty: Rahul Mehrotra

Teaching Associate: Jose Mayoral Moratilla

Teaching Assistant: Vineet Diwadkar

 Open to the public


The Ephemeral City: Looking at Temporary Landscape of Religion in South Asia and Latin America

START
Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 06:00pm

END
Wed, Apr 22, 2015

VENUE
CGIS South, S020 Belfer
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S020 Belfer
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

What is the role of the Ephemeral City in the broader discussion about urbanism globally? Professor Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of  the Department of Urban Planing and Design (GSD), will moderate a conversation across disciplines about ephemerality in the landscapes of South Asian and Latin American cities.  The panel will feature Harvard scholars Felipe Hernandez (GSD), Marianne Potvin (FAS),  and Luis Valenzuela (GSD).

This panel is part of the exhibition The Ephemeral City: Looking at Temporary Landscape of Religion in South Asia and Latin America.

This event was originally scheduled for February 2015.

Cosponsored with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies


Building Storeys: An Architect’s journey through the Indian landscape

START
Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 06:30pm

END
Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Urbanization Seminar

Brinda Somaya, Architect and Urban Conservationist.

Chair: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Whether it involves the restoration of a rural Indian village, the creation of a corporate campus, the rejuvenation of city monuments or the establishment of an academic institution, Brinda Somaya has successfully created a practice that covers the many faces of the Indian landscape. Her reputation has been built on her unique ability to find the appropriate way to build forms that belong. An overview of some of her completed works shows each project having its own original and unique architectural interpretation. This clarity of vision will be presented in a journey through her four decades of practice.
Brinda Somaya will share how she built her practice in India and will focus on the experiences and challenges she faced as she evolved into a leading South-Asian woman architect. Her works include the rehabilitation of an earthquake-devastated village, restoration of an ancient cathedral as well as twentieth century Louis Kahn buildings, creation of educational and information technology campuses, collaboration on the tallest residential tower in India and the conversion of massive garbage dumps into beautiful and usable community parks and plazas. Her talk will take her audience through the enormous changes that India has gone through since independence in 1947 and the challenges it continues to face today with a population of over 1.2 billion people catalyzing rapid urbanization. Her primary belief, that strongly underlies all her work, is the architect’s role is that of a guardian, he or she is the conscience of the built and unbuilt environment.

Co-sponsored with the India GSD


Conceptualizing The Urban Civic Realm: Insights From The Indian City

START
Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 06:30pm

END
Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S250
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Urbanization Seminar

Speaker: Prem Chandavarkar, Managing Partner, CnT Architects.

Chair: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

It is necessary to distinguish between ‘civic space’ and ‘public space’: the former must embrace inter-personal engagement, whereas the latter need not go beyond the spectacle of the city. The failure to adequately discriminate between the two types of space has led to a global problem: the degeneration of the urban civic realm, with public space largely reduced to the spectacle of leisure and consumption. Third places (as defined by Ray Oldenburg), which formed a strong element of civic glue, are declining as they are getting out priced in a world of globalized capital flows.

The problem becomes specifically acute in the Indian city. Firstly, the challenge is immense: a 70% rural society is expected to transition to being over 50% urban over the next four to five decades, which amounts to over 400 million people becoming urban over this period. Secondly, there is no popular imagination of what a city truly is: the authenticity of culture is located in the village, and the city is seen primarily as a rational economic machine, perceived in terms of infrastructure rather than urbanism. And third, this transition, which has to be achieved with a speed unprecedented in history, cannot be done using the paradigms of the past for they are ecologically unsustainable at the scale of this problem.

(more…)


Transnational Urbanism and Post-colonial Challenges Planning and design processes under the aegis of transnational organizations: case studies in India and in the South-East Asia region

START
Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 06:30pm

END
Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Urbanization Seminar

Speaker: Maristella Casciato, Associate Director, Research – Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montreal.

Chair: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The lecture Transnational Urbanism and Post-colonial Challenges sheds light on the complex processes of decolonization after WWII, which ushered in a new obligation for recently-formed countries to oversee the social and material welfare of their people. While nations independently responded to these issues, a variety of global actors intervened, crossing political, economic, and social boundaries to pioneer methods in territorial planning, as well as urban and architectural design.

With the end of WWII in Western countries and the violent struggles for independence across large regions in East Asia, the Mediterranean, and Sub-Saharan Africa, a transnational planning and design expertise emerged that operated within networks far more diverse than those of the colonial era. Planners, urban designers, architects, and engineers transitioned towards broader transnational practices, designated by terms such as “technical assistance” and “development aid,” whose strong paternalistic agenda was at the time discreetly endorsed. Within this multi-layered scenario, missions, reports, and projects commissioned by transnational organizations, such as the United Nations, and NGOs such as the Ford Foundation and Red Cross, in addition to state-owned planning offices and companies, took place against the backdrop of the Cold War. Well-known urban planners including Constantinos Doxiadis, Otto Koenigsberger, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry, Le Corbusier, Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, Albert Mayer, and Michel Écochard were important players in these complex transnational planning and design processes. An aperçu of these issues was presented in the exhibition I curated with Tom Avermaete, How architects, experts, politicians, international agencies and citizens negotiate modern planning: Casablanca Chandigarh, which was displayed in the CCA galleries between November 2013 and April 2014.
Grounded on such a weaving of technical knowledge, managerial skills, and political visions, case studies from the new Punjabi capital, known as Chandigarh, to Etawah rural projects in India, to missions in Karachi and Islamabad, will be discussed with new original documents from fresh research work.

Co-sponsored with the India GSD.


Access to Toilets and Women’s Rights

START
Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 04:00pm

END
Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 05:30pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S354

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S354
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Urbanization and Gender Seminar

Sharmila Murthy, Assistant Professor of Law, Suffolk University; Visiting Scholar, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School

Ramnath Subbaraman, Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Research Advisor, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR), Mumbai, India

Subhadra Banda, Research Associate, Centre for Policy Research; MPP Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

As India looks to position itself as a global leader, it also bears the ignominious status as being the open defecation capital of the world.  Of the 2.5 billion people in the world who still lack access to adequate sanitation, nearly one-third live in India.  Tragic events last summer in rural India further raised awareness of access to toilets as a women’s issue.  Drawing on their experiences in urban and rural India, Professor Murthy, Dr. Subbaraman and Ms. Banda will explore the challenges of improving access to sanitation on the sub-continent, addressing the public health, gender, policy and legal dimensions of this complicated issue.

 


Jugaad City

START
Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 06:30pm

END
Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 08:00pm

VENUE
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

ADDRESS
CGIS South, S050
Harvard University
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Urbanization Seminar

Please note the updated date and location.

Vikram Bhatt, Professor, School of Architecture and Director, Minimum Cost Housing Group, McGill University

Chair: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Jugaad is a Hindi word meaning a clever improvisation or making do with what you have. It has also come to mean grassroots innovation to overcome any constraint. Leveraging limited resources or using them sparingly is a common practice in industry and in creative design; notions of efficiency require that; however, the idea of promoting not only popular engagement but also using users’ savoir-faire, especially in business, is relatively new.

The problem of shelter and cities have mounted, because the formal authorities do not have adequate financial resources; at the local level, professional and technical abilities are lacking; and politically, there is a limited will. And as a result, in India, as well as other countries in the region, most of the affordable and low-income housing is produced by the so-called informal sector, which not only exists, but is thriving outside the market-economy

Since the informal sector is virtually the only delivery vehicle that has had any success in providing appropriate, low cost solution to the shelter problem of the urban poor, a sympathetic understanding of these make-shift settlements, or juggad city, can help us re-consider and re-imagine contemporary urbanism. The best way to chart our way forward is to consider the jugaad urban production on its own merits and try to understand – decipher – its workings. This is essential as this production defies conventional planning orthodoxy. Although these settlements appear temporary there is nothing ephemeral or short-lived about these communities, because from the users’ perspective, they are conceived and built on generational compacts.

Cosponsored by India GSD

Expert Pushes for Cost-Effective Design in India (The Harvard Crimson)